Skip to main content
8:30 am
(instrumental music) >> for 63 years the u.s. has been part of the nato alliance, but is nato still an important safeguard for americans or is it simply a money pit? >> the nato relationship is enormously important to us. i think it was winston churchill said something to the affect that the only worst thing than, than going to war with allies is to go to war without allies. >> we're dealing with network global threats and if we don't provide a network global response we're always gonna to be on the back foot. >> what we need is not just nato on the conventional defense side, we need a nato alliance for economic statecraft. >> the problem is that it is an alliance that is largely sustained by american defense spending.
8:31 am
(instrumental music) >> in a democracy, agreement is not essential, but participation is. >> never before in our history have we been so interconnected with the rest of the world. >> foreign policy is actually not foreign. >> america has faced great hardship before and each time we have risen to the challenge. >> the ultimate test is to move our society from where it is to where it has never been. >> join us as we explore today's most critical global issues, join us for great decisions. >> great decisions is produced by the foreign policy association, inspiring americans to learn more about the world. sponsorship of great decisions is provided by credit suisse, eni, the hurford foundation, and pricewaterhousecoopers llp. >> coming up next: joint strike: nato and the u.s. in the 21st century.
8:32 am
(instrumental music) >> in washington the united states breaks a 170-year-old tradition as it joins 11 nations in the signing of the atlantic defense treaty. president truman keynotes our position, which for the first time binds this country to a military agreement during days of peace. >> if there is anything certain today, if there is anything inevitable in the future it is the will of the people of the world for freedom and for peace. >> the north atlantic treaty organization, nato, has its roots in the outset of the cold war. the goal of its 1949 charter was to safeguard the freedom and security of its member states. at the time that meant preventing the eastern block from creeping westward. >> that was the original reason and i call that nato 1.0. so for 40 years really,
8:33 am
during the entire cold war, the purpose of nato was to protect western europe against the possibility of soviet military, or indeed, ideological conflict. (military marching music) >> this small group of men in the kremlin had long ago dedicated themselves to the spread of communism by all possible means. they control russia. they'd planned to control europe and the world. >> the comment at the time was that nato's role to keep the russians out, the germans down and the americans in. >> the great achievement is the fact, uh, that nato prevented the cold war from getting hot. >> that succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams, in 1989 when the berlin wall came down, the cold war ended, the soviet union broke up. >> but as threats to member nations subsided, nato shifted its focus toward helping non-members procure the same freedoms
8:34 am
nato states enjoyed. >> after the end of cold war, nato contributed the framework for transition in europe and we have given access to former communist dictatorships and today they are highly valued allies within nato. i think these are the great achievements of nato during our more than 60-years history. >> that's when nato 2.0 started. a nato that wanted to do for eastern europe and central europe what nato had done for western europe, to provide a platform and a basis for a democratization for building up the economic vitality and capitalist systems that we saw occur over the last 20 years for countries like poland, and the czech republic, and hungary, and then the baltic states, and romania, and bulgaria. and even croatia and albania became vibrant places of western democracy of, of market economics
8:35 am
and nato members. >> if you look down from mars on earth the bulk of the nations with free political systems and free economic systems that are close friends and allies of the united states and canada are in western europe and, uh, what they're gonna have to do is to recognize that, that it obviously remains important to defend the needed treaty area. >> originally founded with 10 member states, nato now comprises 28 nations and scores of partners who contribute military personnel and equipment to its ever widening missions. >> there are many global partners and they are part of an increasingly dense security network that can address problems anywhere in the world with an increasingly complex set of tools. >> we don't want that world to be a 19th century world of competing power blocks, rivalries, alliances armed to the teeth against each other.
8:36 am
keeping europe a zone of peace, managing crisis, building international cooperative security in the 21st century, those are the three core functions of nato. >> obviously our operation in afghanistan is our mission, but we have other ongoing operations. one of them is the balkans in kosovo, and since 1999 nato has been in engaged in the balkans with great success. we have been the guarantor of peace and stability in that part of europe. so that's one mission. we have an ongoing counter-piracy mission along the coast of somalia and we have a counter-terrorism operation in, in the mediterranean. so nato is still very busy. >> all of these operations that nato does, and we have 150,000 troops on three continents conducting missions. we draw those lessons. we get better like any person or any organization,
8:37 am
we learn from our mistakes. we also learn from our successes and i would argue that the nato alliance is prepared to take on future operations. >> but there are also shortcomings. >> nato is one the greatest alliances the world has ever seen, a great peacetime alliance. inclusive - brought in the countries of the former east block, of the former warsaw pact. offered them that hope and brought them in after the end of the cold war. it is an amazing alliance. the problem is that it is an alliance that is largely sustained by american defense spending. >> the countries in nato don't all think in the same direction because there isn't one unipolar threat. afghanistan was a good example of this. that is where we are with nato now. so we still have an alliance that has done a huge amount of good, that is very meaningful to people in europe and the unites states, but is increasingly losing relevance as a military alliance because of the internal disputes
8:38 am
within countries, the inability to reach consensus as it was when the soviet union was the only competitor or threat, if you will. >> america's involved all over the world. so what do with the quintessential anti-soviet alliance without a soviet union? it's really turned into this kind of fight wars elsewhere outside of our area or out of area activities. i think that raises very real questions of why we have that, if that useful for the countries, or are we getting member states involved in conflicts they never would have gotten involved in because they're being dragged in by nato? (instrumental music) >> we are bound by shared values and shared history and the enduring promise of our alliance. nato's article v states it clearly: "an attack on one is an attack on all." that is a promise for our time and for all time. >> much has changed since the end of the cold war
8:39 am
and as nato has expanded its borders, it's been met with new challenges. >> the world has changed. the problems that the nato nations change, individually and collectively, are problems that are really outside of the nato treaty area, whether it's piracy or drug trafficking, or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. >> in 2001 the u.s. faced a brand-new threat in form of islamic extremism. nato came to washington's aid invoking article v of its charter for the first time ever. >> look at 9/11, that was a threat that was financed out of asia, it were - it originated in the middle east. the people who perpetrated 9/11 were trained in europe, and, and, of course, organized and carried out the threat in the united states. so we're dealing with networked global threats and if we don't provide a networked global response we're always gonna be on the back foot. whereas we want to be and we
8:40 am
will be on the front foot. >> nato reached far beyond its borders deploying tens of thousands of troops to afghanistan. >> a group of free nations decided that it was important to participate in a coalition to help to provide a better chance for the afghan people to put themselves on a path that was not hostile too much of the rest of the world as it was under the taliban and the al qaeda. if you think about it nato, uh, was organized and created to protect the nato treaty area, well afghanistan is a long way from the nato treaty area. >> all 28 nato member states and 22 allies contributed to the mission now in its second decade. >> in afghanistan 40,000 troops today still are provided, uh, by our allies and partners so that the united states can achieve its objectives in a way that it doesn't have
8:41 am
to do by itself, it can do with others, and that's what nato provides. >> i think we have succeeded in what we laid out as a goal right from the outset. the reasons why we are in afghanistan is that we want to prevent the country from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists who could use that safe haven as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against unites states or europe. and since the international operation in afghanistan started we have clearly seen that afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. >> at the moment i'm fairly confident that we will have reasonable security control handed over to the afghans throughout the country. and even today we see the vast majority of violent instance occurs in 10 percent of the area of afghanistan. so we'll continue to focus on those areas which are in
8:42 am
the east and the south. the north, the west are going extremely well, kabul is going well, and i'm confident that we'll continue to isolate the insurgency as we head toward the end of 2014. >> i don't foresee, uh, isaf troops in a combat role beyond 2014. >> at lisbon we decided that we would hand over the responsibility for security to the afghans, so that by the end of 2014 security in afghanistan will be the responsibility of the afghan national security forces. in chicago we re-affirmed that this strategy was the right strategy. that we would be able by the end of 2014 to have an afghanistan in which afghan police and afghan army forces would be able to provide for security. but we also realized that this wouldn't necessarily mean that our engagement and our support for afghanistan was gonna come to an end on december 31, 2014. >> by that time the nato mission in afghanistan will have lasted more than
8:43 am
twice as long as wwii. more than 3,000 allied soldiers have been killed. large swathes of the country remain under control of the taliban and afghan soldiers have proved to be a tenuous partner, occasionally turning on the nato forces who trained them. >> i think some of the weaknesses of nato have been exposed in afghanistan over the past decade where we've seen that nato does not fight a long war very well. there are a lot of different nations with different levels of military capacity, different caveats on the use of their military force and they're just not as effective as american forces or the forces of a handful of our other allies. >> i would say afghanistan is a place where we've shown how hard it is to do nation building with an alliance that's primarily military and security in nature. >> one of the reasons we're in so much trouble in afghanistan is because we went well beyond our mission. we accomplished the mission,
8:44 am
then we took our eye off of the ball when we intervened, invaded iraq and occupied iraq. and now 12 years later, we're not sure what our mission is. is our mission to eliminate taliban? that never was our mission. is it nation building? it is sending children to school? is it building sewer systems? is it going after al qaeda? so, all those factors are complicated but they have to be carefully thought through and i'm not sure we've done that very well in the last ten years. but i do think we will do it smarter. we always learn. >> we are learning and growing as an organization and as we make our mistakes we also adjust, continue to improve and that, i think, is a factor that is impacting public support for this. but i'm, again, convinced that as we get towards 2014 and conclude the transition that we've talked about, having a plan, we'll build the public support necessary for the post-2014
8:45 am
engagement. >> i think there are two very important lessons learned from our operation in afghanistan. firstly, how important it is to engage with partners. in afghanistan we have a nato led isaf mission which counts 50 nations. that's the largest military coalition in recent history. second lesson learned is that in future operations, we should establish training missions at a much earlier state than we did in afghanistan with the aim to hand over responsibility for the security to local security forces. politically, it's much better to give the defense of a specific country a local face than to deploy foreign troops for a very long time. and economically,
8:46 am
it's also less expensive to train and educate local security forces than to deploy foreign troops. >> in 2011 nato was again put to the test as it intervened to stop libya's muammar gaddafi from murdering his own people. that time, nato deployed no ground troops and suffered no casualties. >> this was the most precise air campaign in the history of air warfare. and at yet to provide the allies the ability to take the lead, to be out front, to provide 90 percent of the ammunitions that were dropped in libya. so that the united states enabled this alliance to do a job that uh, that was extraordinary in its success. >> we also see libya as a place where the allies were able to bring a wide variety of military technology together, integrated and perform, i think, very well under u.n. security counsel resolution to avert a real humanitarian disaster.
8:47 am
>> despite the success in libya, there is no template for nato intervention. >> the problem with it is those conditions will never repeat themselves. and so those who talk about it as a model for the future, it's only a model insofar as nato can become an enforcing arm, peacemaking arm of the united nations in conjunction with a regional organization. >> i think we have to be a little judicious when we refer to libya as a case or a model that we can hold up as a successful intervention here as we go into the second decade of the 21st century. it may turn out that way, it may not. but i think one of the things that did come out of that intervention was a realization that it's always going to take strong alliances of many countries and interests to do this.
8:48 am
>> but the operation in libya stands out as an example of america going beyond its self-interest to support nato's mission as a whole. >> well, the libyan intervention, in my judgment, was really one of a kind. it was a situation in which the french and the italians, our nato allies, have long time historical interest in the country. and they strongly encouraged us to become involved. >> we've gotten pulled into something like libya where i saw no american interest involved. it was primarily a french/british effort, which i think served european interests far more than american interests. >> there are still situations in which tribes in libya are not reconciled to the central government. the central government having very difficult times, even though it has oil wealth and potential for income, making a go of it. and no one really knows exactly what the future of that government may be.
8:49 am
(instrumental music) >> but there are also warnings of new threats to nato, including cyber attacks. the strategic concept for the 21st century is set to be agreed at a summit in november. >> in the future, nato will continue to face emerging threats: terrorism, trans-national crime, even cyber warfare. >> i worry a lot about cyber. i worry a lot about the potential impact of a major cyber attack against the alliance or against an individual nation in the alliance. i think we need to continue to be very concerned about trans-national terrorist organizations, violent extremist organization. >> people may have thought that it was mainly an issue for the u.s. now every ally has been affected by an increasing amount of cyber crimes, cyber thefts, cyber espionage, cyber attacks. and one of our allies, estonia, was crippled for up to 11 days
8:50 am
back in 2007 as a result of a very devastating so-called a.p.t., advance persistence threat cyber attack. >> we actually handled it fairly well, but it in many ways probably backfired on the people who were doing it because it was an additional impetus for establishing a nato center of excellence for cyber security in the capitol tallinn. so i guess some people scored with their own goal. (instrumental music) >> a little history here: nato was formed in 1949 as an alliance between the u.s. and western european nations when fears of a soviet invasion of europe were at an all-time high. now, well after the cold war and 20 years after the fall of the soviet union some are questioning nato's reason for existence. >> but is nato prepared to face these new threats or has the 60-year-old alliance run its course? >> it seems to me that
8:51 am
the nato relationship is enormously important to us. i think it was winston churchill said something to the effect that the only worse thing than, than going to war with allies is to go to war without allies and it's true. >> i think nato is a useful political tool for the united states because it gives us imprimatur especially if we don't have united nations backing for a mission, we can go to nato. >> nato's very relevant. there are still significant conventional warfare conflicts around the world, not only directly in the europe/eurasian space but more broadly, where nato can play a role. clearly the europeans are going to spend less money on defense than they have historically. the u.s. will spend not the same trajectory of positive increases in defense they way we have historically um so, it's not as if anyone would suggest disband nato, it plays a useful role. >> but alliances don't come cheap. the u.s. contributes far more to nato than any of its allies.
8:52 am
and as the eurozone crisis deepens, some worry the u.s. will end up footing the entire bill. >> the problem is, that with nato, you don't need nato to get european cooperation. the u.s. clearly benefits from european cooperation; it got it in afghanistan, it got it in iraq. you know in afghanistan it got it technically through nato, but most of those countries could have provided those troops through another umbrella, including the united nations. i think the problem for the u.s. is it's defending a europe, which can defend itself. >> no alliance can continue to be robust and to play the role that it is intended to play unless it resources its rhetoric. you can't gather together as a threat to the bad guys of the world and as an assurance to the good guys of your alliance if you don't have the tools to back it up. and that is, unfortunately, where nato is headed. >> others say a strong
8:53 am
sustainable nato means expanding its political and economic partnerships to countries outside the alliance. >> so one of the ideas i'm quite taken with is the notion of an economic nato or nato that at least looks at more economic elements. because if there's an eurozone crisis, it's a nato crisis. if there's a debt crisis, it's going to affect our security. so i just think we have to look at the challenges coming at us much more through an economic and a security, security prism. >> what we need is not just nato on the conventional defense side, we need a nato alliance for economic statecraft that's actually led by the americans and the japanese. it's critical. and no one is focusing on that yet. i think that our new special relationship should be with japan. >> it is equally important to recognize the threats that are external to the nato treaty area. and maybe develop, um, not membership arrangements but relationships of one type
8:54 am
or another with other freethinking countries, other free political systems and other free economic systems. countries like australia and, and new zealand and singapore and the republic of korea, japan. and, and some other nations outside of the nato orbit at the present time. >> we learned in the 20th century that building walls for our security, the berlin wall, the iron curtain, the bamboo curtain, the maginot line, the schlieffen plan, all those walls failed us. what works is the building of bridges. the nato alliance is a bridge, it connects these 28 countries that represent half of the world's gross domestic product. i believe that alliances like nato give us that connection, those bridges, that open source security that in the end will allow us to create to sum of all security. it's about adding things together. >> you couldn't create it today. no way in the world could
8:55 am
you establish an institution like that. and the fact that it's not perfect, the fact that there are different viewpoints and relationships among the countries in the north atlantic treaty organization gives people pause from time to time. but it seems to me that, that there are enough important things that we can do together that, that we ought to be supportive and strengthen it. >> as nato reasserts it's relevance in the 21st century, one thing is clear how the u.s. works within the alliance to achieve its goals will require great decisions. (instrumental music) >> to join a discussion group in your area or order a dvd of this series, visit or call 1-800-477-5836. great decisions is produced by the foreign policy association, inspiring americans to learn more about the world. sponsorship of great decisions is provided by credit suisse,
8:56 am
eni, the hurford foundation, and pricewaterhousecoopers llp. (instrumental music)
8:57 am
8:58 am
8:59 am

Great Decisions in Foreign Policy
WHUT February 18, 2013 8:30am-9:00am EST

Joint Strike NATO and the Us in the 21st... News/Business. (2013) Whether the NATO alliance can ensure global stability. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Nato 79, Afghanistan 21, Europe 10, U.s. 9, Libya 8, Us 5, United Nations 3, Iraq 3, United States 3, America 3, Taliban 2, Western Europe 2, Eni 2, Washington 2, Australia 1, New Zealand 1, Korea 1, Singapore 1, Estonia 1, Warsaw 1
Network WHUT
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in Annapolis, MD, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 78 (549 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color